Lynda happy doing the spade work on Get Growing

Lynda Hallinan and Justin Newcombe.
Lynda Hallinan and Justin Newcombe.

From her 17-hectare lifestyle block in Hunua, Get Growing host Lynda Hallinan is in the ideal position to reflect on the joys of gardening. When TV Guide chats to Hallinan about the new season of her gardening show, now on Choice TV, she is immersed in her natural surrounds. 

"As I'm talking to you, I'm picking flowers to put in a vase for a photo shoot," Hallinan says. "I love that I can go out into my garden and just fill a vase with all sorts of beautiful things and it costs nothing. It's really nice to be outside and I think human beings are naturally drawn to nature. We always have been, so any excuse to get people outside. It's absolutely good for you in every way."

For season three of Get Growing, Hallinan, who is editor-at-large of NZ Gardener magazine, will focus on her own large backyard which includes a vegetable garden, flower beds and an orchard of fruit trees. She even has a few special guests in the series. "It's quite fun. In my segments I have a supporting cast," she says. "It's quite unlike any other show I suppose. I've got cows, a couple of kunekune pigs, some free-range chickens, a couple of kids to get in the way. It's a different style of gardening."

Joining Hallinan on the series is landscape designer Justin Newcombe, who will help a young couple transform their urban garden, NZ Gardener editor Jo McCarroll, and TV presenter Carly Flynn, with an ideas and inspiration segment. There is always more to learn, Hallinan says, even with 20 years' gardening experience. "When you really get into it there's no end to what you can learn and what you can try and what you can do," she says. "Everybody wants slightly different things from their garden. Some people only want to grow vegetables, some people are really interested in heirloom vegetables, a lot of people are keen on being organic. Then there are people, like me, who are at the other end of the scale who just want everything. I want to grow every plant known to man. I'm a total obsessive."

Having 17 hectares of space is rather handy then for Hallinan, but lack of space should not be a deterrent to aspiring gardeners. "There's been all sorts of things invented in terms of container gardening," Hallinan says. "You can grow herbs in your kitchen so long as it's sunny... Lack of space isn't really a reason to say, 'I just can't garden' and, in fact, lack of space is a good thing because it means you can't go bankrupt. I could easily go bankrupt growing plants for this garden because it's so big." 

With such an array of flowers, fruit and veges to pick from just outside her back door, asking Hallinan which is her favourite is almost an impossible question. "Ask me on any different week and it would be a different answer," she says. "At the moment it's spring so as I'm looking around my garden talking to you I can see all the cherry blossoms and the bluebells are flowering and it's just such a pretty time of the year. "There's something about spring that makes you come over all girly and feminine and frou-frou. No other time of the year would I go sort of gaga over pink."

Get Growing
Choice TV, Friday, 7.30pm

TV Guide